About 75 local seniors were among the about 15,000 finalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program by the Evanston, Illinois-based National Merit Scholarship Corp., announced to each student by letter in February.

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered this spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.

The local finalists are:

Atlanta Classical: Hannah R. Pearl and Natalie R. Spangler

Atlanta International: Julia C. Chen

Atlanta Jewish: Medad Lytton

Campbell: Avery R. Bradley, Alexander R. Eaton, Kiran Gourisankar, Tarannum M. Lakdawala, Quentin P. Mot and Luccas L. Shang

Galloway: Sydney I. Ellman and Sarah R. Kaufman

Holy Innocents’: Colin J. Cassell, Samuel L. Cravey and William P. Scarborough

Holy Spirit: Watson M. Casal

Lovett: William V. Formisano, Samuel C. King, Berwyn D. Lu and Isabella G. Williams

Marist: Harrison D. Ford, Isabella C. Hay and Natalie M. Selover

North Atlanta: Noah Behan-Sahib, Robert J. Churchill, Thomas P. Contis, Mary A. Culp, George L. Gfroerer, Ethan C. Roman, Kimberly A. Wennerholm and Evan F. Zappa

North Springs: Justin Kaplin, Lindsey Nicholas and Elaine Wen

Pace: Charlie Hirsch, Jill J. Rawls, Gillian R. Weitzner and Aaron Zou

Riverwood: Michelle Stanek

St. Pius X: Jason A. Anandappa, Jared J. Druss, Patrick E. Leonard, Luke Mersberger and Thomas R. Wiley

Wesleyan: Jennifer M. Nolan

Westminster: Sreya Atmuri, Adelaide L. Burrows, Gehna D. Chaubal, Daniel I. DeSouza, Vincent R. Fang, Katherine M. Hennessy, Christina Huang, Rishab Jayanthi, Paxton C. Klein, Jessica C. Lao, Katherine S. Li, Hampton M. Maxim, Elizabeth Normark, William G. Pinkston, Isabella Pu, Christopher A. Rascoe, Grady M. Thomas, Anna M. Thompson, Naima Turbes and Luke T. Zhuo

Whitefield: Caleb C. Corliss, Zachary P. Justice and Donovan W. Pearce

Woodward: Alex Burgess, Lily H. Chahine, William H. Freer, Rohan Jhanjee, Arya B. Joshi, Roshni M. Shah, Bailey F. Tucker and Derek P. Zhou

One school did not reply to emails seeking information on whether or not their semifinalists were named finalists:

Weber: Nolan B. Siegel

Over 90 percent of the semifinalists were named finalists, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

Merit, a nonprofit that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Scholarships are underwritten by Merit with its own funds and by about 410 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Over 1.6 million juniors in about 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered later this spring. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by about 230 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2019 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join some 338,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

For more information, visit www.nationalmerit.org.

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